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by yuval » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:17 pm

Hello friends,
Quick question...
I am planning to climb Denali this June, I have a pair of LS Spantik.
Should i buy some overboots? Are there any that fit with Leverwire binding crampons?
I own a pair of Petzl Charlet vasak crampons.
Thank you for your input.

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by ExcitableBoy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:07 pm

Overboots are not necessary with Spantiks in June. Insulated Supergaitors, or just supergaitors are very nice to have. I'm on my third pair, and by far the La Sportiva Thinsulate models are the most durable.

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by Fletch » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:50 am

Spantiks should be fine. If you stay hydrated, your feet shouldn't get too cold.

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by OPHIRTODD » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:24 pm

Hi Yuval,

The answer to your question might not be quite a yes or no response. Spantiks are great boots and are warmer than double boots of old, but are they warm enough? It depends... I'd urge you to give some consideration to the following:

1. Are you attempting the West Buttress? (If so, there is less of a compelling reason to go "light and fast" than on a technical route)
2. Are you starting in early June or late June? (It can still be super cold up high in mid-June! You can generally count on it being a bit warmer on summit day as you get into July, but not always...)
3. Consider your personal ability to maintain yourself over time, in an inhospitable environment. Staying hydrated, as Fletch said, is important and frostbite is largely a hydration issue, but staying hydrated requires more attention than just drinking fluids. If you've spent a lot of time on cold mountains and are well versed in how to layer, how to be disciplined enough to not get too hot or too cold, and to eat and drink when you're feeling crappy, etc - maybe you'll not need overboots.
4. Apply #3 to your climbing partner(s). (Your pace of ascent will somewhat depend on them as well as you - so if they can't move quickly enough for you to stay warm, you're going to be colder...)
5. Your boots are part of your personal clothing system. Are you bringing an 8000m parka and pants? That's overkill on Denali, in my opinion, but if you are, then you'll be a lot warmer than if you bring a lighter clothing system, and then might not need overboots. Then again - a full-on 8000m suit would weigh more than a lighter system and a pair of overboots.

You could easily wish you had overboots anywhere above 14,000' on Denali, even in June. The need for them involves all of the above, plus a hundred other factors. If you can move fast enough, eat sufficiently, and push fluids to the extent that you can keep your personal engine running and keep warm, you probably won't ever wish you had brought overboots.

Then again, summit day via the Buttress often takes 8++++ hours. If yours takes long enough that you find yourself descending the Autobahn in the shade, when you are dehydrated, tired, fumbling, etc, and your toes are sliding up against your boot with each step downward, while you are stuck behind another party or your climbing partner is bonking - you might really wish you had overboots. By the way, I'm generally not a proponent of packing for a scenario that is not probable, but I' got a frostbitten toe descending under those conditions, with overboots, in early June. Not with Spantiks, but I had a top notch system for the time and was well versed in Denali climbing.

One last thing - I see that you live in Israel. Not to make a generalization, but we've had several Israelis climb Denali with us in recent years, and they all commented that the cold was the hardest part for them. They were fit, tough and knew how to suffer with a smile, but it's something like 30C right now in Israel? It takes a bit of time to acclimate to the cold of the Alaska Range, as well as Denali's altitude.

Have a great trip!

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by ExcitableBoy » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:17 am

ORPHIRTODD makes a lot of strong arguments.

I made an off the cuff remark from having done Denali, once, during the coldest early June in a decade, with Scarpa Invernos, Intuition custom liners, and LaSportiva Thinsulate insulated super gaiters. My feet were never cold.

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